As restoration specialists at iRestore, we know that the most important asset to your restoration company is your relationships with clients and with your own company members. This job is not for the weak of heart, and often requires hard labor and dealing with people who are in emotional and physical distress while their home has undergone some type of disaster. Building and maintaining relationships will not only make your jobs easier for your restoration company but also help your business to grow. That being said, we also know how hard it is to stay on top of everything and manage all working relationships in your business when there are so many details that must be attended to with each restoration project. This is why we have come up with a relationship management system (CRM) for restoration companies to allow you to manage all your relationships at both a company and individual level.
Restoration Company Client Relationship Management
Organize all your contacts. Having all your business contacts and client contacts in one organized location will help you to make sure you are keeping up with communications. Our system will organize all contacts by company and location, making it easy to navigate and find who you are looking for. This software will also synchronize all contact information with job-specific relationships to avoid duplicate entries. Through this database, contacting any of your contacts is available at the click of a button. We have used an efficient design that integrates all your contacts into your job and contact management features that allow you to email or call any contact with ease.
Interactive map. We know how confusing it can be to find locations, schedule stops, and manage addresses. Our system uses an interactive map with a unique routing system that allows you to plan your day and design stops in the most efficient routes. It also helps you find locations of workers, clients, and suppliers with ease.
Manage follow-ups. One of the biggest relationship builders is communication and following up in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this can also be one of the hardest areas to keep up on and easily slides through the cracks. With our CRM, you can manage contact-related tasks and all follow-ups in an easy-to-use format so nothing gets forgotten. You can easily add notes across multiple platforms such as iPhones, iPods, laptops, and desktops so everyone on the job, no matter their location, can see which calls and follow-ups have been made and what still needs to be done. We have added a tagging system so you can organize and report your contacts that are personal to your organization to make sure that everyone involved in a specific project is aware and up to date on what is going on.
Business growth. Our system has an automatic scoring system that will help you prioritize and organize your marketing approach, and even runs referral and contact reports so you can stay on top of your revenue streams and relationships. This is so beneficial in keeping old relationships and forming new ones to grow your restoration company.
Restoration projects can almost always be described in one word: chaotic. The challenge of restoring a home or building from a disaster is a huge task involving a lot of moving elements. Without thorough organization, scheduling, documentation, and planning, it can quickly get off track or out of hand. In order to provide the best results for your customers, and utilize the best use of your time and resources, iRestore has come up with the best solution for restoration companies: restoration project management software. Here are just a few benefits of choosing to utilize our restoration project management software:
Restoration Project Management Software
Our systems and software were developed by restorers for restorers. Our experience has led us to develop the most beneficial services for your company and your customers. We have developed an all-in-one tool to allow you to better manage all your projects. Our software offers quick and simple features that are accessible anytime and anywhere, making this an invaluable feature in growing your business and improving customer satisfaction.
We know what it takes and costs to run a restoration business, and that is why we have made our software affordable and easy to use. We will meet your budget and make it easy to implement into your business. We are also able to customize your software to fit your needs, so you are not paying for content that does not benefit you. We know that software programs can be a big investment, but utilizing restoration project management software is the best investment you can make for your business.
Our software allows you to manage multiple jobs, equipment, vehicles, human resources, and relationships. We let you store photos, documents, notes, budgets, contacts, and property locations. We can even integrate accounting and QuickBooks so everything your company needs to function and be successful is in one place. This makes it easy and convenient to find needed information regarding specific projects without having to look through files and files of documents.
You can devote your time and energy into providing the best restoration possible knowing that all the behind-the-scenes work is taken care of. We even offer a task feature that allows assignments to be made and sent out so you don’t have to worry about anything other than the restoration itself. We know that the labor of restoration is only a portion of the entire restoration process, and we want to make all the other parts of it easier for you. We know what you need because we have been where you are.
We know how important of a role restoration companies play in making their customer’s lives easier, and we want to pay it forward by making the restoration process easier for those companies. Our goal is to provide the tools necessary to lead to long term success for restoration companies. You provide repairs and restoration to your customers, so let us provide the system and support you need to do that as efficiently as possible. If you are ready to boost your business and productivity, then use the restoration project management software from IRestore today.
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” African Proverb
If you are reading this, it is likely that you overcame challenges, learned new things, pivoted, showed resilience, supported others, and more, after navigating 2020.
Although challenges and change are inevitable as we journey on into 2021, we should move forward with a new sense of confidence and accomplishment. After all, you did it! You, your team, and your company did it! You navigated a year full of endless challenges and should celebrate the achievement.
There are possibly endless lessons and reflections that we can learn from and share as an industry. I look forward to serving on the R&R Panel, Lesson’s from Covid-19, presented by The Experience University, February 10, 2021, learning the lessons of others, sharing my own, and building a solid future together as an industry.
As individuals, companies, and as an industry, there were many journeys, challenges, lessons, and reflections of the year, 2020. As we move forward and start our new year energized, focused on goals, and ready to take on the challenges and changes ahead, I share a couple of thoughts to keep the momentum going strong:
Celebrate Our Purpose: Although there may be a wide variety of ways we communicate and lead each other as purpose-driven organizations, it is easy to lose sight of our true purpose in the day today. I quote a long-time industry friend and instructor, Ron Valega, who reminds classes, “We are not just sucking poop! We are giving people clean and safe environments.” Unite as a team and celebrate the new year and future with a deeper appreciation than ever before of the great works of the cleaning, restoration, and remediation industries. After 2020, we know now more than ever that providing clean and safe environments for people to do their work and live their lives is a noble, rewarding profession to be proud of.
Post-2020 Huddle: In What the CAT Just Happened, it is encouraged to post-CAT huddle with the team and evaluates what went well and what could be done better next time. Take this opportunity to gather input from every member of the organization to give ideas and input on preparedness and the identification of opportunities.
Opportunities: Take this opportunity to think big and seek opportunities. Ajay Pangarkar, CTDP, FCPA, FCMA’s article, 3 Habits to Innovate During a Pandemic gives a great deal of inspiration and three keys to seizing the opportunity. “While tragic, this pandemic is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do things differently; to think differently. Prior to the pandemic, you know “normal times,” you could have far-fetched innovations, but if they were too extreme, no one would give you the time of day. But guess what? We can now not only dream of far-fetched ideas but are actually encouraged to do so. You now have implicit permission to try anything even marginally viable and no one will hold it against you for trying to make it a reality.” says Pangarkar.
Perspective: It is an excellent time to calibrate a very important meter, your Perspective Meter. Calibrating the perspective meter allows us to focus on what is important, see opportunities, and appreciate all the good by which we are surrounded.
My own 2020 experience was filled with successes and mistakes. There were a few times I had a moment and said, “I don’t know! This is my first Global Pandemic!” I would quickly gather myself and journey on, surrounded by an amazing team, supporters, and friends.
As for the lessons, like many of us, I learned quite a few and look forward to sharing them. I do know one thing for certain, although I always feel a sense of gratitude towards my co-workers and colleagues, it is this year more than ever; that this gratitude almost overwhelms me as I know that I would not be prepared and energized as I am now for 2021.
As we reflect on 2020, we must remember there was no “playbook”. Be proud, you did it!
It has been more than 20 years since my husband and I started our full-service restoration company. Today, I have the privilege to meet and share tips with others who are starting up. The most common request? Lists for things such as contracts, equipment, procedures, any list to give a roadmap to success.
My husband and business partner dug out our original start-up to-do list from his files as we celebrated our 20-year company anniversary and it is now framed in the hallway. As we reviewed the list, we laughed at the simplicity of the handwritten document that included polo shirts, which is obviously of the utmost importance (ha-ha). Is it that simple?
Our company colors, green and gold, were less strategic and more out of a desire to reflect what is now known as Shared Value #10: We pride ourselves on our presentation and professionalism as a company. We had no money but wanted branded vehicles, but guess what? We already had a gold pickup truck and a green minivan! Voila – our company colors were born! No need to spend money on painting vehicles.
Armed with a vision, yellow legal pads filled with notes and ideas, a toddler, a baby on the way, and no income stream, we borrowed money, cashed in an $8,000 retirement account, and got started.
Today, the fleet of over 70 vehicles is gold with green lettering. We love our careers; the opportunities we have had to grow personally and professionally, the gratification of having served thousands, and the people we have the opportunity to work alongside of in our award-winning full-service restoration company.
My husband will reflect on the momentum of our company’s launch and sum it up very simply, “Failure was not an option.”
Twenty years later, here are our tips for starting up…
The Short List
There are many pathways that will lead your startup to Restoring Success. Your startup’s success is how you define it and there is not a right or a wrong. Embrace your vision and get moving. Here are some things to consider as you begin:
Why and Drive: Every business has a profit motive and building a financially strong company is a priority; however, restoration is about something bigger and it is important that there is a purpose, vision, and motivation that goes beyond profit. It is like many other businesses where you can easily lose money and will face all types of challenges. Many view restoration as a “recession-proof” industry without vulnerabilities. It is not.
Stay in touch with “why” you want to start a restoration company.
Drive for your success. An unwavering focus and drive to your goals will be an important fuel to power your launch.
Pros-Cons-Challenges: Our youngest son, who wants to be a restorer when he grows up, summed it up and explains his motivation. You can also pick up some tips on the moisture meters you will need for your start-up: A Restorer, Hero in our Community
Leverage your Assets: Assets may include but are not limited to: soft skills, technical skills, facilities, equipment, and relationships. In general, utilize your strengths and develop your weaknesses and/or surround yourself with individuals that complement your skills and soft spots.
Experience and Expertise: You may have experiences and knowledge from other jobs, businesses, education, and childhood you will be able to bring to your company. Form a foundation and make your company special and unique. I was an accountant who grew up with a father who was an insurance underwriter. My husband was a claims adjuster who grew up strapped to a roof by the age of 10 and helping his dad build cars. Regardless of your background before entering the industry, embrace your talents and know-how in your new company. Do not dismiss anything as irrelevant. One of my many favorite things about restoration is that it is somewhat of a melting pot of diverse individuals with unique backgrounds that bring expertise and apply it to their restoration career. The individuals and companies are special and can find foundations of success in their uniqueness.
Relationships: Leveraging your existing relationships will help you start your company. A marketing strategy is sound and important, but do not discount existing relationships. It may be customers of an existing business or friends and family. Consider your existing contacts and leverage them when building your business based on trust and long-term relationships.
Guidance and Information: Today, there are many options and resources that can help you get a solid start in your new company. Evaluate your needs and seek out the best fits for you to help you get started. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and draw on others who can add value. Remember, there is no right vs. wrong. There are many paths to success and different approaches to the business. Find what feels right and make it your own. Keep an open mind and learn different perspectives and approaches. When you can learn from the mistakes and successes of others, take it.
Training and resources
Mentors and industry friends
Be Resourceful and Have Resources: You will not have everything and everyone you need out of the gate. Actually, that may never happen in restoration. Be prepared to think out of the box and prepare resources. Today, we have a beautiful textile restoration department with commercial and specialty equipment. When we started 20 years ago, my husband went to the laundromat and worked through the night.
Examples include but are not limited to: subcontractors, suppliers, rental companies, banks
Be prepared to solve problems along the way. Ask for help and use your drive to make things happen. In the early days, your ability to respond and deliver quality results will help propel your new company. I vaguely remember our first commercial loss in the early days. I do not remember the logistics; somehow, we assembled a large team, worked through the weekend, and had them open by Monday. I do remember feverishly scrubbing a special chair and thinking, “I want them to say, WOW when they walk in on Monday.”
Reinvest: When planning, and upon starting your new business, plan to continually reinvest. If your vision includes growing beyond your initial startup, you will need to invest in people, facilities, equipment, and systems.
Enjoy the journey and excitement. May starting a restoration company bring you much Restoring Success.
As children are learning to speak and communicate, we often say, “use your words.” An important soft skill that, as adults and restoration professionals, we should never stop developing in ourselves and others. The following excerpt is a brief description from childcare.net as to the importance of developing this skill:
Use Your Words
Teaching young children to “use their words” is a well-known educational tool aimed at increasing kids’ communication skills and teaching kids how express their feelings rather than resort to physical means (i.e., hitting, biting, scratching, etc.) to resolve conflicts. All daycare staff should be trained in how and when to encourage children to use their words, and at which ages children need help in finding the right words to express their feelings. Teaching kids to use their words is also a developmental strategy in the realm of “emotional intelligence,” or “emotional coaching,” wherein parents and caregivers teach kids how to name their emotions and learn to deal with setbacks and change. Read the Entire Article Here
The ability to clearly articulate and use the right words is important in our service to others, individual success, and organizational goals. The words we choose and the ability to not just communicate but to communicate effectively in an emotionally intelligent manner helps us succeed in our day to day. In restoration, we are often faced with difficult situations and conversations, being equipped to use the “right” words can ultimately impact the outcome. We can teach, coach, learn and constantly improve much like many other skills.
This important skill helps us in our entire life, and these are a few areas to consider in our restoration companies:
Management and Leadership
General Internal Communications
A customer wants the equipment pulled early and does not seem to care about the implications.
Response 1: Fine, but you know you will probably get mold!
Response 2: I will respect your wishes; however, I need to advise you that our company cannot deem the materials dry and I will need you to sign a waiver that you understand that there may be secondary damage up to and including microbial growth.
Objective: A response that is respectful to a property owner’s wishes while protecting the company’s potential liability.
On the first day of meeting a new customer, customer states that Joe in the office said all the work can be done by Friday. Caught off guard, it is not possible that the job is done Friday.
Response 1: Joe is totally disorganized and has no idea when the job can be done! Joe should not have told you that.
Response 2: Let us review the job together. I will touch base with Joe and follow up with you on the schedule.
Objective: Clarify the possible miscommunication and take control of the situation by managing the expectations of the customer so that there is the opportunity to complete their job to their satisfaction. Never should we disparage a coworker or the company. Frustrations with a coworker or supervisor should never be presented with a customer.
A manager is told they must complete their weekly report. It is the second session addressing the lack of adherence to this company guideline.
Response 1: I give up! I am sick of telling you to do your report.
Response 2: You are either unable or unwilling to do your report. Let us discuss…
Objective: Start a productive conversation that can identify the root cause of the problem and potential solutions. While being firm and clear that the guideline must be adhered to, the opportunity to offer help to the manager may present itself. On the other hand, if the person is simply unwilling to do something that is very important to the organization’s process, the conversation may go in a different direction.
A customer or business partner makes remarks or outward expressions of prejudice towards members of the team.
Response 1: Huh! Well….Ummm…
Response 2: Our team is a diverse team of restoration professionals and if that is of concern for you, it may be best to work with another company on your project.
Objective: Deliver a clear and professional response that is reflective of your company’s values. Core values are those that are not compromised.
These scenarios are just a few of the many difficult situations and conversations that we can find ourselves in on any given day. Our abilities to handle them by using the “right” words can determine the outcome.
The following are a few tips to consider in developing this skill:
Self-Awareness: Have you ever reflected on a situation or conversation and thought, “I should have said…?” Do not dismiss this thought. See it through and play out the words that may have led you to a better outcome. Next time, in a similar situation, you may have just the right words ready to confidently articulate.
Coaching: In the scenario, where the team member called a co-worker, “totally disorganized” to the customer, the job ended with a bad customer review stating specifically that the company is “disorganized”. You investigate the matter. You learn of the scheduling and communication conversation. This is a great opportunity to talk it through and coach the individual to handle the frustration and conversation differently next time.
Practice and Script: Go through scripts and practice with the team. Utilize the most frequent scenarios like the customer who wants their equipment pulled early to engage the team and equip with the communication tools to succeed. Not only will this help everyone best prepare for the situation that they will likely encounter; it will also help develop their skill in general. It is much easier to think through a situation and find the right words when you do not have the pressure of the moment.
Learn from others: Be observant and constantly learn. You are constantly surrounded by people who at any given point articulate something extremely well. I often make note of others use of words and think, “Wow, that was well said!” One of my favorite’s that I have passed on to others came from my dad, “You are either unable or unwilling to…” referred to above in scenario 3.
Our word choices and ability to articulate them are a valuable skill, something we should constantly develop, and can ultimately determine or influence outcomes. As a side note, our culture and values set the tone. Even if it is a script or words that were practiced, they are always best delivered when they are true, sincere, and from our hearts. The reality is that “using our words” is not always easy as it may sound. Never stop learning how to “use your words.” Best wishes for much Restoring Success.